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DATE: May 11, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: May 16, 2020 (Date of publication)
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Doctrine of "Force Majeure" & "Frustration of Contract": Under Indian contract law, the consequences of a force majeure event are provided for u/s 56 of the Contract Act, which states that on the occurrence of an event which renders the performance impossible, the contract becomes void thereafter. When the parties have not provided for what would take place when an event which renders the performance of the contract impossible, then S. 56 of the Contract Act applies. The effect of the doctrine of frustration is that it discharges all the parties from future obligations (Imp judgements referred)

From the aforesaid discussion, it can be said that the contract was based on a fixed rate. The party, before entering the tender process, entered the contract after mitigating the risk of such an increase. If the purpose of the tender was to limit the risks of price variations, then the interpretation placed by the Arbitral Tribunal cannot be said to be possible one, as it would completely defeat the explicit wordings and purpose of the contract. There is no gainsaying that there will be price fluctuations which a prudent contractor would have taken into margin, while bidding in the tender. Such price fluctuations cannot be brought under Clause 23 unless specific language points to the inclusion.

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DATE: April 27, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: April 30, 2020 (Date of publication)
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The concept of "constructive delivery" of goods as expounded in Arjan Dass Gupta 45 STC 52 (Del) is not proper to interpret the provisions of s. 3 of the CST Act. A legal fiction is created s. 3 that the movement of goods, from one State to another shall terminate, where the good have been delivered to a carrier for transmission, at the time of when delivery is taken from such carrier. There is no concept of constructive delivery either express or implied in the said provision. On a plain reading of the statute, the movement of the goods would terminate only when delivery is taken. There is no scope of incorporating any further word to qualify the nature and scope of the expression “delivery” within the said section. If the authorities felt any assessee or dealer was taking unintended benefit under the aforesaid provisions of the 1956 Act, then the proper course would be legislative amendment. The Tax Administration Authorities cannot give their own interpretation to legislative provisions on the basis of their own perception of trade practice. This administrative exercise, in effect, would result in supplying words to legislative provisions, as if to cure omissions of the legislature

In the case of Arjan Dass Gupta (supra) principle akin to constructive delivery was expounded and we have quoted the relevant passage from that decision earlier in this judgment. In our opinion, however, such construction would not be proper to interpret the provisions of Section 3 of the 1956 Act. A legal fiction is created in first explanation to that Section. That fiction is that the movement of goods, from one State to another shall terminate, where the good have been delivered to a carrier for transmission, at the time of when delivery is taken from such carrier. There is no concept of constructive delivery either express or implied in the said provision. On a plain reading of the statute, the movement of the goods, for the purposes of clause (b) of Section 3 of the 1956 Act would terminate only when delivery is taken, having regard to first explanation to that Section. There is no scope of incorporating any further word to qualify the nature and scope of the expression “delivery” within the said section. The legislature has eschewed from giving the said word an expansive meaning. The High Court under the judgment which is assailed in Civil Appeal No.2217 of 2011 rightly held that there is no place for any intendment in taxing statutes. We are of the view that the interpretation of the Division Bench of the Delhi High Court given in the case of Arjan Dass Gupta does not lays down correct position of law. In the event, the authorities felt any assessee or dealer was taking unintended benefit under the aforesaid provisions of the 1956 Act, then the proper course would be legislative amendment. The Tax Administration Authorities cannot give their own interpretation to legislative provisions on the basis of their own perception of trade practise. This administrative exercise, in effect, would result in supplying words to legislative provisions, as if to cure omissions of the legislature

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DATE: April 6, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: April 8, 2020 (Date of publication)
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Article 142 Directions: All measures shall be taken to reduce the need for physical presence of all stakeholders within the court premises and to secure the functioning of courts in consonance with social distancing guidelines. The Supreme Court and all High Courts are authorized to adopt measures required to ensure the robust functioning of the judicial system through the use of video conferencing technologies. Every High Court is authorised to determine the modalities which are suitable to the temporary transition to the use of video conferencing technologies

Every individual and institution is expected to cooperate in the implementation of measures designed to reduce the transmission of the virus. The scaling down conventional operations within the precincts of courts is a measure in that direction. Access to justice is fundamental to preserve the rule of law in the democracy envisaged by the Constitution of India. The challenges occasioned by the outbreak of COVID-19 have to be addressed while preserving the constitutional commitment to ensuring the delivery of and access to justice to those who seek it. It is necessary to ensure compliance with social distancing guidelines issued from time to time by various health authorities, Government of India and States. Court hearings in congregation must necessarily become an exception during this period

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DATE: February 4, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: February 12, 2020 (Date of publication)
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S. 68 Bogus share capital/ premium: Application seeking open court oral hearing is rejected. There is no substance in the Review Petition seeking review of PCIT vs. NRA Iron & Steel Pvt. Ltd (2019) 412 ITR 161 (SC) and the same is dismissed

We have gone through the contents in the Review Petition and do not find any substance in the submissions raised therein. Consequently, this Review Petition is dismissed

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DATE: December 18, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: December 23, 2019 (Date of publication)
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Effect of dismissal of SLP: It is well-settled that the dismissal of an SLP by the Supreme Court against an order or judgment of a lower forum is not an affirmation of the same. If such an order is non-speaking, it does not constitute a declaration of law under Article 141 of the Constitution, or attract the doctrine of merger

It is evident that all the above orders were non-speaking orders, inasmuch as they were confined to a mere refusal to grant special leave to appeal to the petitioners therein. At this juncture, it is useful to recall that it is well-settled that the dismissal of an SLP against an order or judgment of a lower forum is not an affirmation of the same. If such an order of this Court is non-speaking, it does not constitute a declaration of law under Article 141 of the Constitution, or attract the doctrine of merger

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DATE: October 25, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: November 2, 2019 (Date of publication)
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Recall of ex-parte order: A 'power of attorney holder' is an 'agent' and 'Principal Officer' u/s 2(35). If a CA is granted a POA, service upon him of a notice is valid. If a notice is duly served upon the litigant through its authorized representative, and it was provided sufficient opportunity to appear before the Court and contest the matter but the litigant choses to let the matter proceed exparte, the order cannot be recalled

In State of Rajasthan v. Basant Nehata1 this Court held that : “A grant of power of attorney is essentially governed by Chapter X of the Contract Act. By reason of a deed of power of attorney, an agent is formally appointed to act for the principal in one transaction or a series of transactions or to manage the affairs of the principal generally conferring necessary authority upon another person. A deed of power of attorney is executed by the principal in favour of the agent.”

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DATE: August 21, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: October 23, 2019 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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S. 68/69 Bogus Purchases: Disallowance cannot be made solely on third party information without subjecting it to further scrutiny. The assessee has prima facie discharged the initial burden of substantiating the purchases through various documentation including purchase bills, transportation bills, confirmed copy of accounts and the fact of payment through cheques, & VAT Registration of the sellers & their Income Tax Return. The AO has also not provided a copy of the statements to the assessee, thus denying it opportunity of cross examination

The entire disallowance in this case is based on third party information gathered by the Investigation Wing of the Department, which have not been independently subjected to further verification by the AO who has not provided the copy of such statements to the appellant, thus denying opportunity of cross examination to the appellant, who has prima facie discharged the initial burden of substantiating the purchases through various documentation including purchase bills, transportation bills, confirmed copy of accounts and the fact of payment through cheques, & VAT Registration of the sellers & their Income Tax Returnthe entire disallowance in this case is based on third party information gathered by the Investigation Wing of the Department, which have not been independently subjected to further verification by the AO who has not provided the copy of such statements to the appellant, thus denying opportunity of cross examination to the appellant, who has prima facie discharged the initial burden of substantiating the purchases through various documentation including purchase bills, transportation bills, confirmed copy of accounts and the fact of payment through cheques, & VAT Registration of the sellers & their Income Tax Return

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DATE: September 26, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: October 2, 2019 (Date of publication)
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A concession given by Counsel, if it is a concession in law and contrary to the statutory rules, is not binding on the litigant for the reason that there cannot be any estoppel against law (see also Himalayan Cooperative Group Housing Society Vs. Balwan Singh (2015) 7 SCC 373 Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd vs. Mahendra Prasad Jakhmola & V. Ramesh vs. ACIT (Madras High Court)

The concession given by the learned State Counsel before the Tribunal was a concession in law and contrary to the statutory rules. Such concession is not binding on the State for the reason that there cannot be any estoppel against law. The rules provide for a specific Grade of Pay, therefore, the concession given by the learned State Counsel before the Tribunal is not binding on the appellant

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DATE: March 15, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: April 29, 2019 (Date of publication)
AY: 2006-07
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S. 260A: The High Court cannot hear the appeal bipartite without framing any substantial question of law. It should either dismiss the appeal in limine on the ground that the appeal does not involve any substantial question or hear the parties after framing a question (see also PCIT vs. A. A. Estate Pvt. Ltd (SC)

The High Court did not frame any substantial question of law as is required to be framed under Section 260A of the Act though heard the appeal bipartite. In other words, the High Court did not dismiss the appeal in limine on the ground that the appeal does not involve any substantial question of law; Second, the High Court dismissed the appeal without deciding any issue arising in the case saying that it is not necessary

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DATE: April 9, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: April 13, 2019 (Date of publication)
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CITATION:
Benami Transactions: In considering whether a particular transaction is benami, six circumstances can be taken as a guide: (1) source from which purchase money came; (2) nature and possession of property, after purchase; (3) motive, if any, for giving transaction a benami colour; (4) position of parties and relationship, if any, between claimant and alleged benamidar; (5) custody of title deeds after sale & (6) conduct of parties in dealing with the property after sale. Mere fact that financial assistance was given is not a determinative factor (All imp judgements referred)

It is well­ settled that the burden of proving that a particular sale is benami and the apparent purchaser is not the real owner, always rests on the person asserting it to be so. This burden has to be strictly discharged by adducing legal evidence of a definite character which would either directly prove the fact of benami or establish circumstances unerringly and reasonably raising an inference of that fact. The essence of a benami is the intention of the party or parties concerned; and not unoften, such intention is shrouded in a thick veil which cannot be easily pierced through. But such difficulties do not relieve the person asserting the transaction to be benami of any part of the serious onus that rests on him; nor justify the acceptance of mere conjectures or surmises, as a substitute for proof